"Professor" to "Student" Phrase Book (abridged version)
By John H. Bickford, Jr. (c) 1996.
If you get the feeling that professors live in a world of their own,
you're right. They even have a language all their own (called
"Professorial Inanity"--or "prof-anity" for short) which can in fact
be quite disconcerting to the naive, neophyte student. In fact, the
resultant miscommunication is the single biggest cause of student
confusion and frustration.
As a public service, we proudly present the following phrase book
that cracks the professorial double-speak code and lays bare the
true meaning behind those impeccably precise quotes. As you will
see, your profs are saying the same old things you've heard a
thousand times before -- just in nicer words. Behold....
When professors say this...
They really mean THIS!
This needs some minor revision.
I never actually got around to reading this.
My office hours are by appointment only.
I like to screw out of here early.
Ten percent of your grade is based on class participation.
I'll be fudging your grades.
This won't be on the test.
Bring the text to class.
I don't have a clue how to lecture -- we'll just kill time with
Talk to the department secretary.
Talk to me in my office after class.
Get out of my face.
The tests will all be multiple-choice.
I take questions directly from the study guide and have grad
students do all my grading.
The final will be comprehensive.
I'll expect you to recapitulate in two hours everything I couldn't
fully cover myself in 15 weeks.
Everyone will prepare in-class oral presentations.
This course is outside my specialty -- I'll just bluff it and let
There are two TAs available to help you.
I can't be bothered.
This year I'll be scaling the grades.
I just passed tenure review.
Let's break up into quiet discussion groups.
I have a hangover.
Let's have class outdoors today!
I had beans for lunch.
You won't be able to sell the text back to the bookstore.
My contract wasn't picked up.
Please note the last day to withdraw.
The midterm's gonna suck.